Six months after the new Mercedes Benz E-Class showcased globally at the Detroit Motor Show, it is now finally launched in India. Mercedes Benz India claims the new E-Class to be the fastest launch in India after a global showcase of any Mercedes model, and says that that this specific model was first launched in 1995 and is one of the most popular models. The new E-Class has about 2,000 new components and parts and a new look to give it a more youthful appeal.â€œThere are 23,000 E-Class models on the road today, which is the highest number in India among all the other luxury automobile players,â€ says Eberhard H Kern, MD and CEO, Mercedes Benz India. He further adds that the new model has the design of the modern world and exemplifies the new sporty character of Mercedes Benz.
The new Benz has a totally different look, but keeps its identity intact. There is a sporty front bumper giving the car a â€˜machoâ€™ feel and the front grille has the logo instead of the emblem on the bonnet, which Kern claims is a request that Indian customers have made â€“ these are the few immediate changes among many that grab the eye. The two models â€“ E250 CDI diesel and E200 Petrol â€“ are pegged at Rs 44.48 lakh and Rs 41.50 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), respectively. The brand has also launched 100 limited launch edition CBUs (completely built units) of the E-Class for Rs 49.9 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).Automobile expert Murad Ali Baig says that the new E-Class is a major style change and is a much younger looking car. â€œThis car has changed the perception of the â€˜grandfatherâ€™s carâ€™. In Europe, E-Class is majorly used as commercial vehicles, but the new model is nothing like it, since it does not look like its predecessor,â€ he adds. Baig also gives the example of the transition that Hyundai made from the old Verna to the â€˜Fluidicâ€™ Verna to explain the transition of the old E-Class to this new model.
Mercedes is launching its models in quick succession; the recent A-Class launch, which had the entire campaign on the digital medium and the GL-Class that was launched last month, has AMG features catering to consumers who, as claimed by the brand, are young at heart. It has been long debated that this â€˜old manâ€™s brandâ€™ is changing its positioning to cater to the young-guns since the last few years.
â€œMercedes was the symbol of class before the entire luxury auto revolution hit India, there were already 15,000-20,000 models on the road, most being the E-Class, which was the mainstay of the brand sales,â€ says Baig. He further adds that Mercedes had been ruling the luxury car market for long till BMW came and knocked it off, and now Audi has knocked off BMW â€“ all three German luxury car manufacturers have a cycle. â€œMercedes is re-engineering itself not in terms of technology, but in terms of imagery, new styling is a major leap and is setting the standards for the brand and maybe it will help Mercedes come back on top,â€ he adds.
It seems the NGC (new generation cars) and introduction of AMG models as well as quick successive launches with a sporty-youthful appeal will help the brand get back on top and change the image perception of Mercedes. At the end of the day, the Richie-rich have to have the latest and the E-Class does have an eye-grabbing look.